Dr. James Zoller, professor of writing and literature at Houghton College, recently released his new book, Ash and Embers: Poems.
Zoller draws on his experiences in a variety of roles–including as a husband, father, grandfather, son, neighbor, citizen, writer, and more–to reflect on the journey of life. These different ‘voices’ are individual strands of a larger conversation, pointing to the larger human experience.
Ash and Embers prompted Zoller to try a new approach to constructing a book. “Each book requires something different,” he remarks. “Each book makes its own demands. Generally, one looks for an idea that will work for the material at hand; in my case, for the poems that began to accumulate.” Previous titles, such as Living on the Flood Plain, evolved from an image that Zoller wanted to convey. After exploring several options for Ash and Embers, he began to consider the ways that life expresses itself and “how we go through various ‘seasons,’ each of which reaches back and projects forward even as it describes a ‘now.’” Life is in a state of continual change, he notes, yet relies on continuities even as it progresses.
This is Zoller’s third published book of poetry, following Living on the Flood Plain (2008) and Simple Clutter (1998). His next project, a writing textbook, is slated for release later this year.
Ash and Embers: Poems is published by Cascade Books and is available on Amazon.